Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Recipe: Sausage and Kale Pasta

Success! This got two thumbs up from Dan, which, as I've mentioned before, is really all I look for when I cook. I streamlined this a little bit and cut out a few things that I didn't have (and, uh, forgot to get at the grocery store) and subbed for things I did have. No pictures, but I promise it was good!

Sausage and Kale Pasta
adapted from Serious Eats
You might want to halve this if you don't have a large stockpot. I had hopes that everything would fit into this bad boy, but it was dangerously full (to the point that I couldn't stir anything) so I opted to dump everything back into the pasta pot. This would probably also be good with spinach.

1 pound fusilli or other short pasta (I used cavatappi)
1 large bunch kale, leaves chopped and stems discarded
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from skins and crumbled (I used Al Fresco sweet Italian-style chicken sausage)
1 clove garlic, minced
12-15 whole cherry tomatoes, such as Sungolds (forgot these!)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping (lots of this)

Remove the stems from the kale and clean the leaves. I cut the leaves into ribbons and then chopped across the long way to make smaller pieces, but I'll need to do more chopping next time to get the pieces a little smaller. Boil the kale in well-salted water until tender - I have no idea how long this "should" take. I'd guess I boiled mine maybe 5 minutes. If you have a stockpot with a colander insert, use that and keep the hot water for the pasta. Mine turned a weird greenish brown color because the kale had a purplish tinge to it.

Return the hot water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook to your preferred done-ness and reserve at least a cup of the cooking water. Drain if it finishes cooking before the sausage is ready (toss the water).

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the sausage. Break up with a wooden spoon and cook until completely browned. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and fennel seeds (if using) and continue to cook until sausage caramelizes and turns golden brown. Add more oil to the pan if needed. Put the kale in the pan and stir/toss to coat. Cook a couple of minutes, and if using cherry tomatoes, add them now and cook until they start to lose their shape. 

Scrape contents of skillet into your big pasta pot (my skillet wasn't big enough for all this goodness!) and add the pasta back to the pot. Stir everything together and add the cheese and enough pasta water to make a sauce. I loaded up on the cheese because it's delicious. 

Top with additional cheese for serving.

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